Not Just Detroit: How to Fight Back Against Wall Street and Predatory Municipal Finance

Not Just Detroit: How to Fight Back Against Wall Street and Predatory Municipal Finance

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Thursday, Jul. 17 10:30 AM (Eastern)

Ends: Thursday, Jul. 17 11:45 AM (Eastern)

Last summer, Wall Street banks were poised to jump to the front of the line in the Detroit bankruptcy. The city was going to have to slash retirees’ pensions and sell off assets to pay hundreds of millions in bank fees. After a concerted campaign that included in-depth research, actions, and litigation, the bankruptcy court dramatically reduced the amount the city would pay big banks by hundreds of millions of dollars, thus freeing up much needed cash to invest back into Detroit. Panelists will talk about this ongoing fight, and organizers from the Chicago Teachers Union will talk about how they campaigned against predatory financing deals to rally support during their strike and to fight school closings. These campaigns are part of a growing national movement to expose and challenge predatory municipal finance deals to reframe the debate around public budget crises and offer solutions that put the needs of our communities first.


Saqib Bhatti

Saqib Bhatti

Saqib Bhatti is a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and the director of the ReFund America Project. He works on campaigns to rebalance the relationship between Wall Street and local communities by advancing solutions to fix inefficiencies in municipal finance that cost taxpayers billions each year. He was previously a fellow at the Nathan Cummings Foundation. Prior to that, he worked on Wall Street accountability at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), where he developed strategic campaigns to hold banks accountable for their role in creating and profiteering off the economic crisis, with a focus on municipal finance and housing and foreclosure issues. He works closely with unions and community organizations, building alliances and coalitions that are based on a populist critique of the banking industry that is informed by his research. Saqib previously worked for the Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas. He graduated from Yale University in 2004.

Other sessions: Student Debt and Wall Street: How Finance is Taking a Growing Share of Higher Education Spending and What We Can Do About It


Brandon A. Jessup

Brandon A. Jessup

Brandon A. Jessup is the Deputy Director East of Data and Technology. He supports and coaches partner organizations in the State Voices network. He also oversees any data-related program work and network-wide reporting.

Brandon brings over a decade of experience developing intelligence systems for civic engagement. His knowledge of field operations and data collection has served as a keystone in state and national progressive campaigns, including statewide ballot initiatives to protect and expand democracy.

Brandon earned his BBA in Computer Information Systems at Eastern Michigan University. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the husband and father was raised in Detroit, Michigan. He’s still calls the Motor City home, and enjoys American automobiles, gardening, and spending quality time with his family.

Other sessions: Fighting for Democratic Practices after an Emergency Manager Takeover in Michigan: Report from the Trenches

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Jackson Potter


Jackson Potter is a Chicago Public Schools graduate. He was a high school activist who led a walk-out at Whitney Young in 1995 to push for equitable funding for schools in Illinois. He became a teacher at Englewood High School and was the union delegate there when former CEO Arne Duncan called the school a “culture of failure” and started a phase-out in 2005. He and Al Ramirez formed the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) in May of 2008 and the Grassroots Education Movement, with community organizations, shortly thereafter. In June of 2010, CORE won the general election for the leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union, the third largest teachers local in the country. Jackson currently serves the CTU as the staff coordinator.

Wallace Tuberville


Wallace Turbeville practiced law for seven years before joining Goldman, Sachs & Co. in 1986 as an investment banker specialized in infrastructure finance.

In 1997, Mr. Turbeville founded the Kensington Group and later became CEO of VMAC LLC, providing management of derivatives credit exposures.

Mr. Turbeville left VMAC in late 2009 to devote his efforts to financial reform, energy and environmental policy issues, joining Demos in 2012. He was the primary author of dozens of comment letters relating to proposed rules and studies implementing the Dodd-Frank Act. He assisted Americans for Financial Reform in its efforts relating to the Volcker Rule and derivatives regulation. He has testified on financial reform issues before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the House Financial Services Committee.

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